In the beginning, I struggled to come up with the right title for this post. Ultimately, I decided to go with one that is self-explanatory. Several weeks have passed since my last blog post. In the spirit of refusing to join the "not much club," my wife and I have done quite a lot!
By the way, if you're new to this site and just "meeting me" online or reading this blog for the first time, can you do me a favor? I wrote the story behind why I started this blog and share so much personal information in my first blog post: Finding Strength in my Weakness. I'd love for you to check it out and read the first if you haven't read it already.
Doreen anticipated our need to get away for awhile after our ordeal with Indi, so she planned an awesome "mini-vacation" a few weeks after we said our goodbyes. It started on a Wednesday just before lunch.
First, we drove down to a beautiful city named Gig Harbor, WA and stayed overnight. We walked downtown, visited a few restaurants and distilleries, and had a delicious vegan Thai dinner delivered to us.
On our way home, we stopped by a local brewery named Wet Coast Brewing. They had a wide selection and we had to pick up some "Moving Day IPA" to celebrate with our daughter, Lizzie. She recently made the move from Georgia to Washington State! We're saving some to share with Solomon, Lizzie's husband, when he is able to transfer from National Guard to active duty here. The drink I tried was a blood orange cider called "Calcium." It is one of my favorite ciders. (The top two slots are taken by Seattle Cider Company's "Three Pepper Hard Cider" and Finnriver Farm and Cidery's "Habanero"). When I inquired, they told us it was actually from another brewery based in Arlington. Our itinerary expanded.
I woke up the next morning and worked out right in the hotel room. The thing that I love the most about my new workout routine is that it's all body weight and no equipment so I can do it anywhere. I still start every morning, whether I workout or not, with The Jangle. That's my "stay flexible, wake up" and on some days, "warm up" routine. After jangling, I jumped right into the main workout. Right now, I'm working my way up to 100 burpees in a single session. I add a new burpee to my routine every day. This is what my current workout looks like (I take Sundays off). The entire routine takes just under 30 minutes to finish.
Burpees - currently at almost 70, working up to 100. 6 - 7 minutes.
Back hinges - this is just bending forward at the waist then using my lower back to stand upright (basically, a body weight "good morning"). 20 reps, ~2 minutes.
Plank holds - I do five of these for one minute each, using full arms (not resting on forearms). 5 reps, 7:30 minutes.
Lunges - balance is so important for Parkinson's Disease and one-legged exercises like lunges are extremely helpful. To add some challenge I twist and raise my opposite arm at the bottom of the lunge. 30 reps per leg, ~3 minutes.
Body weight squats - should be self-explanatory. 40 reps, ~2 minutes.
Superman push-ups - this is the first of two modifications to get my back involved. I do a push-up, but at the bottom of each repetition, I rest on the ground and go into a back extension (arms extended out, legs extended out, and arch my back). 30 reps, ~3 minutes.
T push-ups - the second modification to involve my back. At the top of each push-up rep, I raise one arm to the sky and look over my shoulder, so my arms make a "T." Then I alternate. 30 reps, 3:30 minutes.
Crunches - really should be called gut-busters. 30 reps, ~2 minutes.
After the workout, we set out on the next stage of our journey.
Our next stop was the town of Bremerton, WA.
We stopped there to enjoy a delicious vegan breakfast at Cray's Diner. The food was amazing. The restaurant was dine-in, but had a massive eating area with tables spaced well beyond the suggested minimum of six feet for social distancing. Bremerton was just a short food stop on our way to Coupeville.
Also on the way to Coupeville, we stopped by for a brief visit in the town of Poulsbo.
Poulsbo is a charming town with a strong Norwegian influence. There were a lot of beautiful buildings and storefronts I could have photographed. Instead, I took a picture of this rock.
I guess I did catch some of the marina behind the rock as well. After a short visit that may have involved the procurement of cinnamon rolls, we continued on to our ultimate destination.
The focal point of our trip was a small cottage near the water in Coupeville, WA.
This is a very charming town on the water with a beautiful downtown area. We stayed near a lavender farm we visited several times in the past. The cottage is walking distance from a beautiful little beach named Libbey Beach.
After enjoying the view at the beach, we took a lovely walk that evening on the road next to our cottage.
Our timing was perfect because when we reached the end of the road, we were greeted by this amazing sunset.
The next day, we went for a hike on the bluff trail loop at Ebey's Landing. It was a great way to kick off the weekend.
The hike lasted just over five miles. You start by ascending and following the edge of a bluff.
Eventually, you descend and walk several miles along the beach. Finally, you climb back onto the bluff and finish with what I can only describe as amber waves of grain.
We returned to the cottage and relaxed for most of the day. That evening, we enjoyed another amazing sunset from our deck.
The next day, we visited downtown Coupeville. A market was conveniently set up next to the place we parked. We picked up some flowers that I later learned are commonly referred to as "blanket flowers" and planted them in our garden.
We had a short "lunch date" eating vegan hot dogs from a local hot dog stand.
The goal for our last day was to make it to Libbey Beach for low tide. We read there are many tide pools that are fun to explore. We weren't disappointed!
We saw beautiful pebbles, multi-colored shore crabs, and sea anemones.
On the way back home, we stopped by Elemental Hard Cider in Arlington, WA.
There, we tried a flight of ciders:
Ginger - 👌 not too shabby
"Lithium" lemoncello - 👎 not my cup of tea
"Hydrogen" grapefruit - 👍 surprisingly delightful
"Oxygen" pomegranate - 👍 loved it
We picked up some of the blood orange cider ("Calcium") and glasses to go with it.
It was a delightful trip!
One of our top motivations for moving to the Pacific Northwest is hiking. I reached out to a good hiking friend of mine, Dan, and asked if he was up for a nature walk. Dan is an experienced hiker and his "easy" is my difficulty level "10 out of 10." Translated: I may be sore, winded, banged and bruised after, but I always know it's going to be awesome.
We decided to hike Lake Isabel. This is an extremely challenging hike. You often lose site of the trail, it involves bushwhacking and climbing over massive fallen trees and scaling a muddy slope by stepping on wet rocks and pulling yourself up with slippery tree roots. Due to its difficulty, we encountered absolutely no one else on the main part of the trail despite it being a beautiful weekend day. I'm happy I had someone experienced with the trail to guide me. I'm 90% certain all of the poor reviews are from people who didn't find the lake.
The hike was nine miles round trip with an elevation gain of almost 2,500 feet (760 meters). Here's the elevation chart for perspective.
The hike has a few phases before you reach the lake:
An easy stroll on a gravel logging road.
An ordinary, albeit steep, hike through some woods and a meadow.
Here, I pause to present the view from the meadow.
OK, now onward ...
Insane bush-whacking over massive dead trees.
A pause to view a beautiful waterfall.
Another pause to contemplate the fact that the lake is on top of the waterfall.
A (literally) breathtaking scramble up the side of the waterfall.
The reward was... well, maybe I can let the lake speak for itself.
We relaxed an relished the quiet time we had, ate some snacks, snapped some pictures, then began our descent back to the parking lot.
Later that week, I decided to stay up late to see if I could find comet Neowise. Or, rather, C/2020 F3. This was one task I didn't care to procrastinate, because it's not coming back for 6,000 years and I can't wait that long. So, I looked for it. I didn't find it. Later that evening, my wife called me over. "There it is! See it?" I didn't. But I had an easy fix: my binoculars. Sure enough, there it was. This is the first "real life" comet I've seen, and it took my breath away. I could clearly see the bright, main mass and a huge, long, sweeping tail.
Armed with a new tripod I purchased for my phone, I set out to see if my Samsung Galaxy Note9 could capture it using the built-in camera and "night mode." The answer?
I'm in a great place right now. My Parkinson's Disease symptoms are mostly under control. I blame it on an even split between my Ropinerole and the intense daily exercise I've stuck with since my diagnosis. I still do tremor at rest, but there is nothing I can't do that I was able to do before.. My daughter is no longer 2700 miles away and we're on the path to adopt another German Shepherd. God is truly great!
As always, thanks for reading and staying in touch.
On a final note, I appreciate everyone who's contributed to our fundraising campaign so far. Thank you! As of the date I wrote this, my amazing supporters exceeded our expectations and brought us just over halfway to our target with $9,200 raised towards our $15,000 goal. If you feel moved to do so, your contribution will make a huge difference.
Until the next time...